Still not convinced that climate change is all that bad? These dead animals beg to differ.
Sometimes, I’m not sure just how much more evidence skeptics need to acknowledge 1) that climate change is real and 2) humans are making it worse. From drought and extreme heat to coastal flooding and superstorms, Mother Nature is throwing out every red flag in her arsenal to get our attention.
If billion dollar damage doesn’t pull at your heartstrings, maybe this will: a 16-year-old otherwise healthy polar bear was recently found starved to death in Norway. Polar bear experts, who had examined the animal’s health just a few months prior, say dwindling sea ice caused by global warming is to blame.
“Most of the fjords and inter-island channels in Svalbard did not freeze normally last winter and so many potential areas known to that bear for hunting seals in spring do not appear to have been as productive as in a normal winter,” Dr. Ian Stirling, a researcher with Polar Bears International, told The Guardian. “As a result the bear likely went looking for food in another area but appears to have been unsuccessful.”
Although we can never be 100 percent sure about the bear’s exact cause of death, the disappearance of the arctic sea ice on which it depends can’t be debated.
In late 2012, studies confirmed that, thanks to climate change, total sea ice in the Arctic was at the smallest amount ever recorded in history. Then, in July 2013, the North Pole suddenly turned into the “North Pool” after another fast and furious decline in sea ice.
And polar bears aren’t the only wildlife suffering the deadly consequences of our unchecked carbon emissions. This summer, record-breaking heat caused surface temperatures of several Alaskan lakes to rise above 75 degrees F. Thousands of fish, including the precious Alaskan King Salmon, died as a result.
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